Joint Committee On Human Rights Minutes of Evidence

3.  Letter to Andrew Bridges, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Probation

  My Committee is very interested in your report on the Anthony Rice case in the context of work it is undertaking on the Human Rights Act and the impact it is having on the formulation of policy and the delivery of services, including in relation to the important question of whether the Act, or the way it is being interpreted by decision-makers, is affecting protection of the public. At the end of this month we intend to take evidence from the Lord Chancellor on these matters, focusing on the DCA's review of the implementation of the Act.

  Before that session takes place we would be grateful if you could let us know precisely what information contained in your report on the Anthony Rice case you consider supports the view you expressed in it that from 2001 "the people managing his case started to allow public protection considerations to be undermined by its human rights considerations, as these required increasing attention from all involved, especially as the prisoner was legally represented" (Principal Finding 1.3.1). It would also be helpful if you could let us know if you have any further evidence, over and above that already contained in the report, to support that view. In particular, we would be grateful for any evidence you are able to provide that at the principal decision-making points in the management of Mr Rice's case, including at the time of his release on licence and in deciding the conditions to which he should be subject on release, human rights considerations had the effect you describe, and whether in your view this was because of a correct or incorrect interpretation of the requirements of the Human Rights Act by the relevant decision-makers.

  I would be grateful if you could provide a response by 23 October.

11 October 2006

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